Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – November 13, 2016
Theme: A Call to Christian Commitment – 1 & 2 Timothy
Topic: Faithful Heritage Through the Gospel: Sharing the Word
Main Texts: 2 Timothy 1:1-18
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 1:13: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, as we discussed the topic “Fight the Good Fight: Godliness with Contentment”, we saw that faith is not always about believing God for miracles, but also demonstrated in our stewardship of the resources with which He blesses us. Some of our key learning from that study are:
- Our real needs are far simpler and fewer than we often think; God reduces it all to food and clothing. While it is healthy to work to have more than these basic needs, we should not see acquisition of extra possessions as a requirement for living.
- God does bless us with material riches and indeed wants us to enjoy them. However, we must from time to time examine ourselves for the reason we seek wealth. Seeking material riches just to feel good about them amounts to the “love of money” which is “the root of all evil”.
- The material wealth with which God blesses us are for the purpose of sharing with others. However, in doing this, it is important we be led by the Holy Spirit to avoid unhealthy giving, such as giving to promote our ego, or giving in a way that prevents our beneficiary from achieving their potential.
This Sunday we will continue in our study of Paul’s letters to Timothy as we meditate on the topic “Faithful Heritage Through the Gospel: Sharing the Word”, based on 2 Timothy 1. The overall thrust of this chapter is the need to keep up our fervency of faith by reminding ourselves of, and holding on to fundamental truths of the gospel. Our key learning from the study should include the following:
- When we come to know Christ, God deposits in us gifts to be used for His purposes. As worthy stewards, we have a responsibility to fan them into flame, putting them to the use God intended, and not allow time to obscure their reality.
- Holiness and suffering are fundamental truths of the gospel, and it is important that those who preach the gospel convey this truth to their hearers so that those who come to faith in Christ do so with realistic expectations. As we do so, we also point that Christ has made abundant provision to see us through.
- Every Christian should seek to identify with a gospel ministry, providing support and encouragement to those who have devoted their lives to the gospel, and ministering to their material needs to the extent that God has blessed us.
Most of us who have come to know Christ in a personal way and have been in the faith for a while would admit that our zeal, perspectives and fervency are not as they were in our early days as Christians. As new believers, some had great visions and aspirations of what they would do for Christ – give up pursuit of secular career, become missionaries, and so on. Over time, many mature in the faith and develop new perspectives. We become more aware of our environment and this awareness tends to, in many cases, temper our outward spiritual fervour. Apostle Paul recognised this, and that even an Overseer like Timothy might not be immune to this “cooling off”. Paul saw the need to remind Timothy of his spiritual roots, and of specific things God did in his life for a purpose that had not been accomplished. Timothy had received a gift of a manifestation of the Holy Spirit through laying on of Paul’s hands (v6). Apparently, this gift had remained dormant.
1. Let participants share examples of changes in their dreams, Christian life, perspectives and fervency from when they first came to a personal knowledge of Christ to the present, and why.
In verses 7 to 12 of our text, Paul highlights two aspects of the Christian’s call: Holiness and suffering. Hear him: “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (v8). “He has saved us and called us to a holy life” (v9). We should again remind ourselves that Paul was writing these things to a “General Overseer” – Timothy. The gospel revivals that swept through the western world, some African countries, and Asia in the 20th century were characterised by dramatic transformations of lives from loose living into holiness, in ways that even sceptics could not but notice. In the old Soviet Union, men preached the gospel even when death stared them in the face. Those that responded to the altar call knew that they were signing up for a life of holiness and possible suffering. The possible material prosperity that could come from living for Christ was hardly a sermon topic, even though it was acknowledged.
2. Looking back at the sermon and teaching contents of your local Church over the past year, do you think your local Church sufficiently preaches and teaches the holiness and suffering aspects of the Christian life?
When we face difficult times in life, we hope for support from those around us. It is certainly fair for missionaries to expect support from other Christians. Paul shares his personal experience through his travails: Most Christians in Asia had deserted him – including some two people he least expected (v15), but he mentions one person – Onesiphorus, who looked for him and stood by him through it all (v16-18). Paul said Onesiphorus “was not ashamed of my chains”. We routinely pray for those who preach the gospel. Unfortunately, most of us do so in a detached manner, hardly asking ourselves how we could touch the lives of those we pray for in a practical positive way.
3. What definite things can we do to support those who have given their lives to preaching the gospel?
Father, rekindle in us the zeal for Your word, that we may remain steadfast in its truth, and in supporting those who have given their lives to ministering it to others, in Jesus’ name. Amen.